Cheese is undoubtedly one of the most versatile and delicious ingredients in our pantry.
It’s made from milk and comes in countless varieties and forms, from soft and creamy to hard and crumbly.
Cheese is also packed with nutrients, such as calcium, protein, and vitamins A and B12. However, as delicious as cheese can be, it’s also often high in calories and can be tough on some people’s digestive systems.
That’s why in this post, I’ll be sharing some healthy alternatives to cheese that are just as tasty and satisfying.
Whether you’re looking to cut back on calories, follow a vegan or dairy-free diet, or simply try something new, these cheese substitutes are sure to impress your taste buds.
Healthy Substitutes For Cheese
Healthy Substitute for Cream Cheese
Instead of using cream cheese, try using mashed avocado or nut-based spreads like almond or cashew butter.
These options are lower in fat and calories but still provide a creamy texture and nutty flavor.
Avocado is a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and potassium, while nut butters are rich in protein, healthy fats, and vitamins.
Mashed avocado makes a great substitute for cream cheese in bagels or as a spread on toast. While the flavor is not the same as a cheese spread (obviously), it does have similar elements to it.
Healthy Substitute for Velveeta Cheese
If you want to find a healthy replacement for Velveeta cheese, try using pureed butternut squash or sweet potato.
Both of these substitutes are naturally sweet and provide a creamy texture without the added fat and calories.
Butternut squash and sweet potato are both rich in vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium, and are great for adding flavor and texture to soups, sauces, and dips.
Pureed butternut squash or sweet potato can be used in mac and cheese dishes, or as a dipping sauce for vegetables.
In fact, if you need a recipe idea on how to use butternut squash as a substitute for Velveeta cheese, here’s a mac and cheese recipe for you to try out, where the cheese sauce is actually made from butternut squash.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
8 oz elbow macaroni
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions, then drain and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, cook the butternut squash in boiling water until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a blender or food processor.
Add the almond milk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper to the blender with the butternut squash. Blend until smooth and creamy.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked macaroni with the butternut squash sauce. Stir until the macaroni is evenly coated.
Pour the mac and cheese into an 8×8 inch baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil and panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the mac and cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the mac and cheese is heated through.
Serve hot and enjoy!
Healthy Substitute for Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese is probably one of your favorites, so lucky for you, I have the perfect substitute!
A healthier, more nutritious, and plant-based substitute for parmesan cheese is nutritional yeast.
Nutritional yeast is a plant-based alternative that provides a nutty and cheesy flavor.
Alternatively, in some cases, a substitute that could work instead of parmesan cheese is sesame seeds.
While they’re obviously less similar to parm than nutritional years, sesame seeds provide a similar nutty flavor and are high in healthy fats and minerals.
Both nutritional years and sesame seeds are low in calories and can be used as a topping for salads, pasta, and other dishes.
Healthy Substitute for Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese isn’t that hard to substitute either – instead of using ricotta cheese, try using mashed tofu or pureed white beans. Both of those provide a similar creamy texture and mild flavor but are lower in calories and fat.
Tofu is rich in protein, calcium, and iron, while white beans are a great source of fiber, protein, and vitamins.
Mashed tofu or pureed white beans can be used in lasagna or other baked pasta dishes, or as a filling for stuffed vegetables like peppers or mushrooms.
Healthy Substitute for Cottage Cheese
Another type of cheese that’s fairly easy to substitute with a plant-based and nutritious option, is cottage cheese.
Two cottage cheese alternatives that you could try out would be mashed banana or pureed silken tofu, depending on the dish you’re making.
They both provide a creamy texture and a slightly sweet flavor that can be used in desserts and smoothies. Bananas are a great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamins, while silken tofu is rich in protein, calcium, and iron.
Healthy Substitute for Feta Cheese
Feta cheese might not be the easiest to replace, as it has a really unique flavor and texture, but there are some things you can use instead of it to replicate the purpose of it in dishes.
So, instead of using feta cheese, try u
sing crumbled roasted almonds or tofu. They both provide a similar salty and tangy flavor that can be used in salads and dips.
Almonds are high in healthy fats, protein, and minerals, while tofu is a great protein, calcium, and iron source.
Healthy Substitute for Goat Cheese
A good substitute for goat cheese would be hummus. It provides a tangy and earthy flavor that can add depth to salads and sandwiches. It is high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, so it’s definitely nutritious.
Healthy Substitute for Mascarpone Cheese
Mascarpone cheese can definitely be substituted for a few things. Some alternatives to using mascarpone cheese would be using whipped coconut cream or pureed silken tofu. They both have a similar creamy texture and mild flavor that can be used in desserts and sauces.
Coconut cream is high in healthy fats and minerals, while silken tofu is a great protein, calcium, and iron source.
If you need some low-carb rice alternatives, check those out as well.